By Peyton Celesti | Sports Writer
BRIGHTON HEIGHTS — Although the summer in-house season for Team Pittsburgh Dek Hockey is considered the off-season of the three sessions during the year (summer, spring and fall), the interest in the sport among kids and families continues to grow. There are close to 400 kids signed up for summer dek hockey across five age groups, according to Team Pittsburgh in-house Director Rich Briggs.
The divisions for each age group are Chipmunk (4-6), Penguin (7-9), Beaver (10-12), Cadet (13-15) and Freshman (1619). According to Briggs, there are nine Chipmunk teams (117 kids), eight Penguin teams (121 kids), seven Beaver teams (78 kids), four Cadet teams (45 kids) and four Freshman teams (40 kids). The summer season begins at the end of June and ends around Labor Day.
Briggs noted that numbers have increased since the Team Pittsburgh Board agreed to have open registration in 2019.
“In our first year of open registration, we were tipping around 350-375 kids, and four years later, we are averaging 470-480 kids for our fall and spring sessions,” said Briggs. “In the spring season of 2023, we had about 475 kids signed up.”
Before 2019, registration was limited to around 225 kids, which put many people on a wait list. Open registration has now allowed hundreds of more kids to play the sport.
For this summer season, Team Pittsburgh tried something new to continue to attract more kids and families throughout the Pittsburgh area. They offered a special discount to residents in the city of Pittsburgh interested in joining the league for the first time. Most had to pay $65, but newcomers who were city residents only had to pay $20 to sign up. A total of 25 new kids from the city took advantage of this discount for the summer season. Briggs said that the organization plans to continue to do this in future sessions.
Team Pittsburgh will continue to provide various in-house clinics this summer for kids, including a goalie clinic where Freshman league goalies will coach and mentor the younger divisions. Things will continue to be very busy throughout the rest of the year, as the dek is open seven days a week in the evenings and all day on Saturdays and Sundays during each inhouse season.
As for the Team Pittsburgh Travel program, 190 kids signed up to try out to be on one of the 11 teams across each division. The tryouts are in the fall, with the teams selected over the winter. The Travel season starts in March of 2024.
Registration for the fall in-house session will open at the end of July. If interested or have any questions, please contact in-house Director Rich Briggs at email@example.com or visit teampgh. com.